Advice for those in non-traditional relationships

People aren’t going to understand. And because you may be judged negatively, you may need to come up with a cover story of sorts when talking to others about a partner. All of us in non-traditional relationships have been faced with this challenge. Generally, for us, defining them as a good friend is the easiest and fits why we have dinner together occasionally or why we may show up to support something they are doing. Regardless of what you choose –

My advice:

KEEP IT SIMPLE. Don’t over explain. Nothing complex.


Oh, we met at some event a few years ago.


I happened into an event the other person was at and we started chatting at the bar.


I can’t remember where we met – but we became friends after it.

Why don’t you want to go any further?

  • The more detailed the “lie”, the more details you have to manage as does the other person.
  • The more detailed and complex the story – the more questions people will ask. Questions means answers that add to the complexity of the story both have to share.
  • More often than not when someone asks “how did you meet”, they aren’t looking for a huge story.

Why is this my quick topic today?

G’s former girlfriend and I happen to work at the same company. It was a total coincidence – they met at the same time I started there – and low and behold, we work at the same company. While we do not have any morality clauses or anything like that, the people are very old school and rednecked with some Christian undertones – so being out about being poly is not an option.

About a week or so ago, she was talking about G’s new adventure as my direct report walked into the room. He immediately put two -and-two together and was like “oh, you know Emmy’s husband”. Instead of saying, “Yeah, it’s kinda funny – we met just as she was starting here. Had no idea until after she was working here for a while” then left it at that, she launched into a complex story about how they met, etc.

I had no idea, but when my direct report made a comment about how she knew my husband, I simply said they met right as I started at the company and became good friends. Then I tossed in something that is true (and vanilla) – and left it at that. He made a comment about how funny it was they met to which I responded that G, between teaching and other things he is involved with, meets a lot of people. He was like “yeah, that’s true” and changed topics.

I haven’t even thought about it since then honestly.

Until yesterday when G informed me that she had told one of her cohorts that her former boyfriend just started a new adventure. She was not there when my direct report connected her “friend” to being my husband, so now the ex-girlfriend is worried someone is going to say something to her before the ex-girlfriend can “warn her”. And she is going to say something about how G’s ex-girlfriend having dated the same person leading people to put it all together.

So now, there is going to be one person – a person who knows me pretty well too – who will know I am poly. I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, she is professional and mature enough to handle it all. On the other hand, I have seen her at time without a filter. Plus, she is good friends with their manager (outside of work) , so will she keep it to herself or tell him? Guess I’ll find out.

The good news is this – unlike her, I don’t freak out about someone finding out. I don’t freak out or act nervous when I see her. I just act normal because, for me, it is normal. Freaking out about it will only lead people to wonder why this person is soliciting such a weird reaction – and they will start asking questions.

Ideally, it would be easiest if we could all just be open about the types of relationships we have with our significant other(s), but sadly that is not always possible. So seriously – don’t go overboard with the explanations. It’s a small world – we meet people organically all of the time regardless of the kinds of romantic relationships we may have. Remember that.

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.